KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Tennessee offense already without star quarterback Hendon Hooker will take on Clemson in the Orange Bowl will be without one of its biggest weapons.
Senior wide receiver Cedric Tillman announced Monday that he will not play in the upcoming Orange Bowl as he prepares for the 2023 NFL Draft process.
Tillman underwent ankle surgery in September after he was injured in Tennessee’s Week 3 home win over Akron. He returned to play in three of the final regular season games against Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina.
“Though I battled through injury this season, I am grateful I returned for my 2022 senior year and now I turn my attention to the next level,” Tillman wrote in a statement. “In order to be fully healthy and ready to go as I prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft, I will not play in the Orange Bowl but will fully support my teammates.”
In 2021, Tillman set a school record for most consecutive games with a touchdown catch and became Tennessee’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 2012.
It’s unclear if Tennessee will have AP First Team All-American receiver Jalin Hyatt available for the game. The junior, who became the first player in school history to win the Biletnikoff Award, said in an interview with ESPN that he was 50/50 on whether he will enter the NFL Draft.
No. 6 Tennessee will take on No. 7 Clemson on Friday, Dec. 30 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN.